STATEMENTS OF BERNARD RIMLAND, Ph.D., AUTISM RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SAN DIEGO, CA; DR. MICHAEL J. GOLDBERG, DIRECTOR, NIDS MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD, TARZANA, CA; DR. MARY N. MEGSON, PEDIATRIC AND ADOLESCENT ABILITIES CENTER, RICHMOND, VA; DR. JOHN E. UPLEDGER, THE UPLEDGER INSTITUTE, CLEARWATER, FL; CATHY L. PRATT, INDIANA RESOURCE CENTER FOR AUTISM; DR. DEBORAH G. HIRTZ, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH; DR. EDWIN H. COOK, JR., UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO Mr. Rimland. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here. It is a great honor and a great privilege. I want to start by commenting that there has been a lot of discussion during the past few hours about the supposedly unproven hypothesis that vaccines may cause autism. There is another unproven hypothesis which has been unchallenged and unquestioned, at least relatively so, and it is really a very important hypothesis, and that hypothesis is that vaccines are safe. The real hypothesis which should have been tested years and years and years ago by much more scientific research than has ever been devoted to it is the proposition that vaccines do not cause damage. The Vaccine Information Adverse Reaction Reporting System has not been studied; it has not been looked at at all carefully, and therefore, the assumption that many people are making is that the vaccines have been looked at carefully for adverse reactions, and they have not been. The other point I want to make has to do with the testimony of Dr. Brent Taylor, who spoke here on the last panel. I was very bothered by the lack of information and the confusing information in his paper. My entire life has been spent as a professional researcher--almost 50 years of my life has been as a full-time professional researcher. I am a fellow of the division of statistics, measurement and evaluation of the American Psychological Association. I wrote a friendly letter to Dr. Taylor indicating that I would very much like to take a look at his data, because I did not understand part of it, and there were some questions that I wanted to raise. He ignored my first letter. I sent a second letter, and he responded to that by saying no, I could not have a look at his data. I then wrote to the editor of the Lancet urging that a blue-ribbon committee be appointed to take a very close look at the data of Dr. Taylor. So I am delighted that you have asked for it as well. My own son Mark was born in 1956 as a severely autistic child from birth. Our pediatrician, who had been in practice for 35 years at that time, had never seen such a child or heard of such a child. When Mark was 2, my wife and I found the word ``autism'' for the first time in a textbook. I was at that point 5 years beyond my Ph.D. in psychology, never having heard of or seen the word ``autism'' before. It obviously was a very rare disorder, extremely rare. None of us had heard of it. Today it is extremely common. There is hardly a high school kid in the country who has not heard of autism. It is a household word now, and that is not because of the movie ``Rain Man,'' but because it is extremely prevalent. Despite denials from some experts, there is a terrible worldwide epidemic of autism. In the mid-1960's, after my book ``Infantile Autism'' was published, I began hearing from parents throughout the world whose children had been normal until given the DPT shot. I began to make note of it and ask questions about it in the form letters I sent out to parents seeking information about autism. In the past few years, the Autism Research Institute, which I direct in San Diego, has been flooded with letters and faxes about children whose parents say and can prove very well with videotapes and photos that their kids were normal until getting another triple vaccine, the MMR shot. In my view, the evidence is overwhelming that vaccines, especially the triple vaccines, and among the triple vaccines especially the MMR, can and do cause many cases of autism. It is also alarming but true that 90 to 99 percent of adverse reactions to vaccines are never reported. There is no penalty for a doctor's failure to report a bad vaccine reaction, so they simply do not do it. Why should they engage themselves in paperwork if there is no requirement that they do it and no penalty for not doing it? This being so, how can the authorities claim that the vaccines are safe, given that only 1 to 10 percent of adverse events are ever reported? Doctors must be trained to recognize, and required, not just requested, to report adverse events. With regard to the question of genetics, they say that autism has a large genetic component, and therefore, vaccines must play a minimal role. My book, ``Infantile Autism,'' published in 1964 was the first systematic attempt to marshal the evidence for a genetic relationship to autism, so I am certainly not hostile to that idea. However, genes do not begin to account for the huge increase in the incidence of autism. There is no such thing as an epidemic due to gene problems. The increase ranges from 250 to 500 percent in various places, as other people have pointed out here. As the editor of the Autism Research Review International, I have just reviewed a very large number of studies on the genetics of autism. The next issue of the Autism Research Review is going to contain our review study. The results of our review are spectacularly inconsistent. The best guess is that there are at least 20 different genes that may be involved in the causation of autism. Genes are not the answer to the question, even though, at one time, I was very much in favor of looking at that hypothesis. I am still interested in the hypothesis, but it is certainly not responsible for the increase in autism. The people who claim that the vaccines are safe claim that autism naturally occurs at about 18 months, when the measles/ mumps/rubella vaccine is routinely given, so the association is merely coincidental and not causal. But the onset of autism at 18 months is a recent development. Autism starting at 18 months rose very sharply in the mid-1980's, when the MMR vaccine was introduced. For the previous 30 years--we have been collecting information from children born in the fifties, sixties, seventies, and so forth--there were twice as many kids reported with the autism started at birth as there were kids whose parents reported that the autism started at 18 months. Starting in about the 1980's, when the MMR vaccine was introduced, those two curves converged. Over a period of several years, the number of kids whose autism started at 18 months rose to twice as high as the number starting at birth. On the last page of my handout, I have a graph that shows those curves based on the records of over 31,000 children in our San Diego institute. So that particular argument against the MMR hypothesis is obviously a very poor one. Autism is not the only severe chronic illness which has reached epidemic proportions, as the number of very profitable vaccines has rapidly increased. Children now receive 33 vaccines before they enter school--a huge increase. The vaccines contain not only live viruses, but also very significant amounts of highly toxic substances such as mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde. Could this be the reason for the upsurge in ADHD, asthma, arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus, and other chronic disorders? It seems as though we are trading protection against acute diseases such as measles and mumps for a huge epidemic of chronic diseases like autism, asthma, and the others I mentioned. As a parent and a full-time professional researcher, I am bitterly disappointed with the medical establishment's dismal record with regard to autism over the past 60 years. The medical schools as well as the Government agencies have consistently supported outmoded, unproven and even disproven ideas, including the one that autism was caused by ``refrigerator mothers'' who did not love their children, thus causing autism. The medical establishment was opposed to behavior modification, or what is now called the ABA approach. They said that this was not a way to treat autism, because autism was based on deepseated emotional problems, so a technique that is used to train animals cannot be used to improve autistic children. That was untrue. They have ignored and continue to ignore the long series of studies conducted both in the United States and Europe showing that the elimination of foods containing gluten and casein from the diet brings about marked improvement in many autistic children. They have consistently ignored the series of 18 consecutive studies conducted by researchers in six countries which show that almost half of all autistic children and adults respond favorably to high doses of Vitamin B6 and magnesium, with no adverse reports from any of these studies. Eleven of these studies were double-blind placebo-crossover experiments. There is no drug which comes even close to B6/magnesium in terms of safety, efficacy, and positive research findings, yet it is not being explored at all. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on nonproductive lines of research while virtually no money at all has been given to research on methods of alternative medicine which are far more promising in terms of both safety and efficacy. The most interesting questions are not being asked. Why does the majority of any population survive such epidemics as autism, the bubonic plague, Legionnaire's disease, polio and AIDS, while relatively few succumb? The very obvious answer and the most probable answer is that the survivors have healthy, effective immune systems. Would enhancing the immune system decrease the likelihood of adverse reactions to vaccines--including, by the way, the anthrax vaccine. I hope that DOD will pay some attention to that. There is good reason to think about anthrax in this context. It is well-known that the immune system must be adequately supplied with many nutrients if it is to function properly, including especially Vitamins A, C, E, B6, and a number of minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Nutritional levels of these substances are not only harmless, but they are essential to good health. Since people do not change their diets readily, I believe that foods should be fortified with these nutrients, especially foods which will be consumed by infants and children. Research along these lines, as well as on the safety of the vaccines, is desperately needed. Recently, Professor Clementson published a paper--he is the author of a three-volume treatise on Vitamin C--reviewing the evidence showing that individuals who are vaccinated without having adequate supplies of Vitamin C in their bodies are far more likely to suffer an adverse reaction to the vaccine than those who have higher levels of Vitamin C. Dr. Archie Kalokerinos of Australia, a pediatrician assigned by the Government to the outback people there, found an infant death rate of 50 percent among the children he cared for. They died soon after the vaccines. He found that they were extremely Vitamin C-deficient, and he learned that by giving them some extra Vitamin C, he could prevent their deaths. The death rate went from 50 percent to zero in a very short time. Dr. Kalokerinos was given a medal by the Australian Government. We should be giving our children Vitamin C as well as other nutrients to make sure that their immune systems are well-fed and function well. I think we would see a lot fewer of the problems that we are experiencing today. As a parent and as a researcher, I believe there should be a marked redirection of effort and funding along the lines suggested above. Thank you. Mr. Burton. Thank you, Dr. Rimland. I appreciate your comments.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.
2 responses to “Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: Bernard Rimland | April 6, 2000”
The anthrax thing:
a year and a half later [subsequent to September 11 2001] some anthrax was sent to various arms of the US government…
And Rimland is talking about survivor bias here.
Many years ago he was a psychometrician for the US Navy.
[…] the congressional hearing on autism in April of 2000, both Bernard Rimland and Andrew Wakefield testified. Rimland was a researcher known for his 1964 book, Infantile Autism, […]